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Online PD for Japanese Language Teachers (Mar 2021)

Getting To Know Japanese Culture Through Sentō

Archived video of Part 1

This seminar is for learning about Japan’s public bath houses known as sentō. Participants will deepen their understanding of Japanese sentō culture, and expand their ideas for use in Japanese language classes. This seminar is held in conjunction with Steam Dreams: The Japanese Public Bath exhibition at The Japan Foundation, Sydney. The online catalogue will be published on March 13, 2021. 

What is Sentō?

Have you watched the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away? The story follows the protagonist Chihiro as she works at a sentō called Abura-ya. Unlike the film, nothing strange happens at real sentō, but sentō culture has long been rooted in the Japanese lifestyle.  

Sentō serve many roles, and have many aspects of appeal. 

Pass through the magnificent temple-like façade that suddenly appears in the narrow town streets, duck through the noren (curtains), and you will find a peaceful space for the local people: the sentō. People come to the sentō, wash their body in a spacious area, and soak in a large bathtub while looking at murals depicting Japan’s scenic spots to heal the tiredness of the day. In addition to its function as a bathhouse, the sentō also has an ecological system that uses scrap wood to boil and circulate clean water and also functions as a community base where local people gather and interact. In addition, sentō can be used as a source of well water in the event of a disaster, enabling it to serve as a social safety net.

In modern Japanese urban life, where people have less in-person interactions within their local community, sentō that connect people have become more valuable than ever. Why not learn about the charm of Japanese sentō culture and incorporate it into your Japanese language classes?

  • The seminar consists of three parts.

Part 1 3:30pm-4pm

In Part 1, participants will watch a lecture featuring Haruka Kuryū, who is working on the preservation and development of sentō culture. The lecture provides a wide range of information on sentō, such as how to enjoy sentō, its history, items unique to sentō, its architectural appeal, and its role in the community. 

The video will be in Japanese with English subtitles.

Part 2 4pm-4:30pm

Part 2 is a Q&A between participants and the presenters. Participants can ask questions about what they learned in Part 1 and about sentō in general. There will be a Japanese-English interpreter so participants can ask questions in English.

Part 3 4:30pm-5pm

Part 3 is a presentation by a Japanese language education consultant at The Japan Foundation, Sydney. This section will introduce ideas for using sentō in Japanese classrooms, such as quizzes and activities using the information on public baths introduced in Part 1.

Part 3 will be conducted in simple Japanese.

  • Presenters

Part 1, 2 Haruka Kuryū, Director, Bunkyo Youth Society of Architecture

Part 3  Shunsuke Hirakawa, Language Consultant, The Japan Foundation, Sydney

A reminder message with the Zoom link will be sent to your email at 4pm AEDT the day before the seminar. If you have not received this email by then, please contact us immediately.

Registrations are now closed.


March 16, 2021 (Tuesday)
3:30pm-5pm AEDT

**Online conference room opens at 3pm AEDT**


This event will be held online via web conference.


Free; Registrations essential
Max. 60 participants

March 4, 2021 (Thursday) at 4pm AEDT
or when the capacity has been reached.


(02) 8239 0055

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